So last night we all had an amazing night, because out professor got us free tickets to the Betis futbol (soccer) game so we all last minute changed plans and went out for some tapas around 8 and then to the stadium! We had absolutely incredible seats, row 11 goalside and no one ended up showing up in front of us so we basically had the whole front section to ourselves.
In Sevilla futbol is a way of life, not just a sport and there are two Sevillian teams, Betis and Sevilla F.C. Figuring out which team is objectively better is basically impossible, and it depends on the Sevillian you ask.
The game was Betis versus Las Palmas, the team from the Canary Islands in the Copa del Rey tournament, and it was a very important game for Betis, because they had lost once to Las Palmas in this tournament so to stay in they had to win. The game was tied at 0-0 almost the entire game, and then in the last couple of minutes Betis pulled through and scored a goal. It was insane when they scored, the entire stadium was vibrating with energy and people were jumping around like crazy. Watching the fans at this game was just as fun as watching the players themselves! Whenever there was a bad call, or a mistake made by the team the fans would erupt with all sorts of curses and some people even had to leave their seats and walk around they were so upset.
Betis won the game and everyone was going nuts outside of the stadium, and even when we got in the cab our driver was so excited that we were at the game and that Betis won. We ended up going out to the Plaza Alfalfa, one of the few plazas with nightlife that we actually comfortably know how to get to and from, for some celebratory drinks and ended up meeting some other American students in a tiny bar usually filled with locals which was fun!
All in all, we had an amazing night last night, and lucky for me coffee here is amazing and cheap (1.10 Euro) so waking up for class this morning wasn’t even a problem. I was actually quite proud of myself that this morning I was able to find my way to the coffee shop I went to yesterday, order my coffee, pay correctly, find a farmacía, find blister band-aids (one downfall of a huge walking city), and pay for them correctly. It’s the little things that count! Anyways, I will be posting pictures from the soccer game right after this post.
Hopefully “today” (it was a full days worth of traveling but the 24 hour period was spread out over two calendar days) will be the worst day of my Study Abroad experience. Before I go on to explain why this day will earn that title I do want to say that I write this post guiltily from the Madrid Barajas Airport, because complaining about travelling to spend five months in southern Spain seems spoiled, but still it was a rough day.
My day started at 6:30 am (I’m using CT time throughout this blog because that’s what my computer is still set to and what I have been going by!) so that I could get up before my sisters went to school and do what was by far the most painful part of the day; say goodbye to everyone. After some very depressing and teary goodbyes I left the house wondering how bad it would really be if we just turned the car around and I stayed home. Finally, my dad and I got to Bradley, checked in and got to the gate with no problems (shocker!). Apart from the one-hour delay, and one last goodbye that left me biting back tears as boarding, the flight to Chicago was cake. The plane was so tiny that my window seat was actually a dual window/isle seat (there were only three rows of passengers separated by one isle). Once I got into Chicago I now had just under four hours to kill, which actually went by pretty quickly. A 3$ bottle of water and 5$ boxed pasta salad later, I was sitting at my gate waiting for the flight.
Turns out today was a huge day for all of the study abroad programs in Spain because the flight was packed with college kids on their way to Madrid to study abroad (or like me to pick up a connection to another Spanish city). Sadly, I didn’t find anyone on my program, or going to Sevilla, but I did get some great tips from some flight attendants about what wine to try aboard my international flight (apparently there basically isn’t a drinking age on international flights, or at least not on Iberica ones- who knew!) I didn’t end up enjoying that glass of Moscato, because about two hours into the flight to Madrid, circa 10:30pm I crashed. I wish I mean I fell asleep, but I mean I had a pounding headache (and forgot Advil), was sweaty, tired, sad, homesick, nervous, getting elbowed by the chubby guy next to me and basically had an internal breakdown. Luckily the lights were off in the cabin so no one noticed my meltdown, and I actually managed to get a whole two hours of sleep before the cabin lights came back on and we were served breakfast. Now here is where my travel day started to turn around… apparently to Iberia a perfectly acceptable breakfast is a muffin, a ham and cheese croissant, fruit and a KitKat bar. With some muffin, Kit Kat and ham in my system I hit my second wind.
After deboarding the plane I relized for the first time I was on Spanish soil. Yay! Since we got in around 6:30am local time, the airport was empty which was super creepy, I have never been in an airport so empty at any time of day or night. It also looked like I had just been placed in my LegoLand PC game from 6th grade inside the airport which weirdly made me feel a lot better. Finally, in Madrid I was able to change my clothes, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on some jewelry and makeup (gotta look fresh for my hostmom) which, no exaggeration, made me feel like a totally new person. Now I’m just sitting in the Madrid airport writing this, waiting for my gate to be posted so I can finally finish this travel day from hell, and meet my host mom. I will most likely add more to this post, because I am writing it without Wifi on a Word document (to upload later), but if not stay tuned to find out about meeting the parents… er, hostmom
With this post, I am officially changing this blog into a study abroad journal/blog (although almost all of my recent posts have been about Sevilla or traveling)! For everyone who doesn’t already know, in less than four days now (wait, what!!!!) I will be heading off to Sevilla, Andalucía (Southern Spain) for the next semester to study/travel/explore/find myself (and all the other things you are supposed to do while studying abroad).
As of today I have done pretty much everything (save for a few small matters, mostly unnecessary things) I need to do to prepare for my flight on Monday morning. Packing seemed to be its own growth experience and challenge. As someone who typically packs two huge suitcases on a weekend trip, managing to fit my whole life in two suitcases (and one stuffed carry-on item and a giant purse) is a major accomplishment. It was also the
‘oh shit’ ‘Dios mio’ moment, when I realized that this is really happening, and I will actually be spending the next five months of my life living abroad.
With the reality of studying abroad so close, I am experiencing a huge variety of emotions; ranging from anxiety, excitement to actual fear. As I described to my mom after packing and everything, my mentality is reminiscent of the days leading up to leaving for summer camp; when you just keep thinking ‘well I’m sure this experience would be great and all, but I think I’ll just stay at home forever’.